A few years back, perhaps a few more, I had read Billy Graham’s book “Storm Warning”. I was deeply impressed and inspired by his writings about Revelation 6 and Matthew 24. The following is an excerpt from his book.
“The four horsemen of the Apocalypse point inevitably to deeper moral and spiritual problems that affect our lives. But each is unique. Each carries his own agenda. In every age, we have seen precursors of the horsemen riding over the earth.. They gave warning to the first century churches in Asia, and their warnings apply to the church today.
“Jesus Himself underscored these warnings with a command: ‘Therefore keep watch’ (Matthew 24:4). ‘Watch out that no one deceives you’ (Matthew 24:4). This is representative of the white horse who carries one who imitates Christ and promises a false peace.
“‘You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed'” (Matthew 24:6). This depicts the red horse that takes away peace and brings war.
“‘There will be famines and earthquakes in various places’ (Matthew 24:7). This is the black horse that will wipe out the food supply, leading the nations into severe hunger.
“‘Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put the death'” (Matthew 24:9). The fourth horse is the only one of the four with a name and a color to match: the pale horse called Death.
“…’I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown’ (Revelation 6:1-2). As suddenly as he appeared the rider kicked the flanks of the white stallion and raced toward the earth ‘as a conqueror bent on conquest’ (Revelation 6:2).
“…The text says he is wearing a crown and carrying a bow of great destruction in his hand. In Revelation 19, Christ is pictured on a white horse wearing many crowns. This had led some to believe that the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6 is also Christ. I do not believe this to be the case. In the Greek text, the crown worn by the rider of the white horse is called stephanos, which would refer to the crown of victory worn by a conqueror. The crowns Christ wears in Revelation 19, on the other hand, are diadema, or the crowns of royalty. Although the rider on the white horse bears a resemblance to Christ, his appearance is actually (and no doubt deliberately) deceptive. A closer look reveals his true nature. He is ‘a conqueror bent on conquest,’ greedily riding roughshod over all who stand in his way – the rider of the white horse is characterized by his lust for power, destruction, and deceit.
“Who, therefore, is the rider on the white horse? He is not Christ, but a deceiver who seeks to capture the hearts and mind of all mankind He is one who seeks to have people acknowledge him as Lord.”
There is so much more he wrote of, but this part and an earlier part in the book greatly impressed me. So it worked inside me for awhile until it came to be a painting.
Deception, War, Hunger, Death.
The Lord in us keeps us from deception, he will finish what He began…
The process of the painting was first all the above, then needing horses. So I went to a barrel racing arena, laying down (behind a fence) photographing into the view of the third barrel at which point the riders would rev up to race to the finish. Those positioning on the horses are actually cowgirls who could really ride, and their horses! Oh their horses! The cowgirls were actually beautiful women from whom I borrowed their posturing and tools, replacing them with the figures and weapons of the 4 horsemen.
The first horseman grasped my attention, and all I could see was lizardine eyes. I saw them but could not quite capture the unmentionable/untranslatable that was in them. It is cringeworthy. It was vile. Sometimes we can see that in the world today. Deception. “Therefore keep watch.”
Behind the horses in the light from whence they were released, are faces representing the souls of those crying out for justice from under the altar…. the rest is pretty much self explanatory, through the swirl of time and eras.
I think I painted this in 2014? This came up again during breakfast, re-reading the book.
My personal understanding and hope is that the ecclesia, the out-called, the church will be brought up to him soon. He is still the Light in the world in His out-called believers. I cannot easily bear to look into the darkness.